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Alabama needs to prove it can play with poise at No. 11 Auburn

Where to watch: Alabama (13-10, 5-5 SEC – #49 KenPom rating) at No. 11 Auburn (21-2, 8-2 – #30) – Today 6 p.m. Central, Auburn Arena, ESPN2.

Who to watch: Kira Lewis. One of the few players who didn’t look rattled in last year’s pasting at AU, Lewis is coming off a career-best 37 points in Saturday’s overtime win at Georgia. In last month’s upset of the then-unbeaten Tigers in Tuscaloosa, Lewis went for 25 points despite making just one 3-pointer. Bama needs him to use his unrivaled speed to the rim to help open opportunities along the perimeter and keep turnovers under control.

What to watch for: Can the Crimson Tide keep calm and play on? It’s no secret that this setting has brought out the worst in Bama, with the most frenzied atmosphere in the SEC wilting its resolve and mistakes snowballing on top of each other. In their last three home games in this series, the Tigers have won by 20, 19 and 21 points. With Herbert Jones still out at least another week, Bama could very well find itself in a deep hole again, particularly if it gets carried away with emotional outbursts that proved costly in losses to Tennessee and Arkansas. Competing well tonight is important, but so is avoiding a result so demoralizing it spills into the rest of the schedule.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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